Fun fact: I hate packing. Hate it. I take ages to pack for any trip because I usually last 15 minutes before I get bored, frustrated or both. That being said, after 8 years of travelling, I am getting better at it. Well, sort of. I at least have my list of essential must-have items that come with me on every trip. You know, the important things I can’t live without. Which is what I’m sharing with you today.
I’ve created a number of different destination packing guides on this blog, but these items are my tried and tested come-with-me-everywhere items. I’m not talking cell phones and cameras- those are obvious. I’m talking about everything from my favourite airplane outfit to the hairbrush I swear by. With that in mind, here’s what you will always find in my bag.
Tangle Teezer Hairbrush
I have super long hair that tangles in a minute. Brushing my hair after a day in the ocean (or out in the wind) was the worst…until I found the tangle teezer. Or, more appropriately, until my mom bought it for me. Honestly, this brush has been an absolute lifesaver (or, hair saver) more times than I can count. I use it at home and abroad. It can be used wet or dry and honestly, I have yet to find something better to brush out mermaid hair. Plus, it’s really small and packs easy. Buy a tangle teezer here
This Leave in Conditioner
As far as hair and makeup go, I am extremely low maintenance. In fact, I don’t even blow dry my hair 99% of the time- that’s how lazy I am. However, as I mentioned above my hair gets super tangled and is awful to brush out sometimes. Especially after swimming or being in the ocean. My hairdresser actually recommended this product to me. Well, she uses it when I get my hair cut because even she can’t seem to keep my locks under control. It’s a leave in conditioner that makes my hair softer and easier to manage without being sticky or looking greasy. I spray it in when its wet then brush it out and ta-da! I manage to keep most of my hair on my head and not in my brush which hopefully means I avoid pre-mature baldness. Buy the conditioner here (This bottle is the big size, but I just got a small re-usable one that I fill for when I travel.)
Ok, I know this is the most un-creative packing item on this list but I actually can’t live without my packing cubes. I know it sounds silly but when you spend weeks in hostels at a time, you don’t have the energy (or space) to dig through your entire bag just to find a clean pair of underwear.
I usually travel with at least 3 packing cubes: 1 for tops, 1 for bottoms, and 1 for underwear/bras. Not only does it keep my suitcase neat and tidy but it also makes it so much easier for me to find an outfit for the day when I know exactly where to look for what. Buy packing cubes here
When I travel, I think I’m just as attached to my power bank as I am my phone. Why? Because being able to charge your cellphone isn’t always as easy as it should be. First off, my battery drains quicker than most since I’m on it all the time for social media and emails and the other work aspects that come with being a blogger. Secondly, sometimes power outlets can be tricky to find. More than once I’ve been on a train with no outlet, or a hostel with 2 outlets for the entire room, or even been somewhere where the outlets don’t work. My power bank is my backup and my security blanket so I can make sure I can stay charged and, therefore, always have access to my online maps. I get lost a lot, ok? Buy a travel-friendly power bank here.
Dressy Sweatpants by encircled
Dressy sweatpants sound like a dream come true, and these pants are. I feel like I’m wearing pajamas when I wear mine, except I look a whole lot cuter. They are so soft and versatile that they have become my go-to travel pant and the only thing I wear on planes (again, they feel like pjs). I honestly can’t recommend these pants enough and yes- they have pockets! Check out encircled products here
The Evolve Top by encircled
Some people have lucky t-shirts, I have my favourite travel tshirt. I got my first evolve top from encircled in 2016 and haven’t stopped wearing it since (though I did have to replace it early 2019 because I got a hole in it- my fault, I got caught on a door). This tshirt is simple but stylish and the sleeves can be adjusted into different lengths for different looks. Plus, I can wear it frontwards with a lower neckline, or backwards to be more covered up. From Bali to Morocco, Greece to Ireland, this top comes everywhere with me. It’s also one of my regular go-to’s for a plane outfit because it’s so soft and comfortable. Check out encircled products here
Butterfly Wrap by Diane Kroe
I’m all about the multi-wear clothing and my butterfly wrap from Diane Kroe is a favourite. It’s light and airy and works perfectly as a coverup for the beach or for somewhere more conservative/religious. I’ve taken mine all over from Egypt to Greece and it gets plenty of use. It washes and wears really well plus it’s made for travel which means quick dry and no wrinkles. Definitely recommend! You can find the Butterfly Wrap by Diane Kroe here. BONUS: Save 10% on your purchase by using the promo code HANNAH10
I’m a curvy girl but even my slimmer friends know how horrible chub rub can be, especially when travelling. After years of trying to use deodorant or baby powder, then just flat out not wearing shorts or dresses I found a miracle cure: BodyGlide. It’s like a deodorant stick put apply it on your thighs and ta-da! No chafing. I usually only have to apply once but if it’s really hot and I’m sweaty (or going swimming) I’ll throw it in my bag for the day and re-apply. Now I can wear all my cute dresses, shorts, or swimsuits as much as I want without having to worry about that horrible rash. BodyGlide has seriously been a life saver. Buy BodyGlide here.
I’m a self-declared mermaid. I love being by the water and am a scuba diving addict. However, even when I’m not diving I still take my dry bag with me. It’s perfect for on the beach, going on a boat, or even if it’s pouring rain and you need somewhere dry to keep your things while you are out and about. Dry bags come in a number of different sizes depending on your needs. I use a 20L one and it holds my DSL-R as well as my other essentials. Buy a dry bag here
This Foldup Day Pack
I ordered this day pack to try over a year ago and it’s come with me everywhere since. It’s small and light and folds up into itself which makes it ideal to travel when I’m not using it. Plus, it’s the perfect size to use as a day bag when hiking or going to the beach. The zippers have loops big enough that I can lock it for when I’m out in a city, and its water resistant. Plus, you can’t beat the price. Buy my favourite day pack here.
I travel with a DSL-R Camera and I think I speak for every solo traveller when I say it can be really hard to get photos of yourself when travelling alone. Which is why I decided to buy a travel tripod (and a remote since my DSL-R isn’t blue-tooth). Granted, I personally don’t trust myself (and others) to use it in crazy busy places but, if I get up early in the morning before the crowds, or am somewhere quieter or in nature, it’s perfect. Plus, travel tripods are pretty compact and light so the extra weight of carrying it around isn’t a big deal. Especially when it means I can actually get some nice photos of myself travelling. Buy a lightweight travel tripod here.
I’m always finding new and handy travel accessories, so I’ll add to this list as I fall in love with other must-have items.